Can Your Facebook Presence Be Hijacked?

Do you have a Places or Community page for your business?  If so you may be at risk of your information being hijacked.

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were looking for a place to eat on Lake Lanier, a lake just North of Atlanta.  I went to Google and searched eventually clicking on a Facebook page link for Pelican Pete’s (PP’s).  I went to their page to find out more information on PP’s and in the process discovered a potential flaw or potential issue to businesses relying on Places and Community pages on Facebook.

hijacked facebook page

As you can see in the video below I had the ability to go into the PP’s page and edit the basic information including Tags, Address, Phone Number, and URL.  Why is this an issue?

For starters let’s look at a hypothetical situation that is reasonable.  Let’s suppose that I make money by using Google AdSense to display relevant ads on pages.  With the ability to go into certain Facebook pages and customize the URL, I can set up a number of money making pages in Facebook by hijacking ignored Facebook Places pages and placing links to my pages with AdSense running on it.

In the case of PP’s, I simply would create a website called LakeLanierToDos.com.  Under the domain I could then create a page called /pelicanpetes and place the relevant information about PP, but in the sidebar include Google Ads for other Lake Lanier businesses. Something like this:

 

Now imagine if you did that across 1,000 sites how much revenue you might generate by hijacking ignored Facebook places pages.  Watch the Video.

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Think its just the little guys who could be hijacked?  Here is a Facebook Places page for a local Starbucks in Alpharetta, GA that I was able to go in and edit their info.

So what can you do to avoid your Facebook presence being hijacked:

  1. Create a Company, Brand, or Product page that you have 100% control of.  Avoid Community and Places accounts.
  2. Claim you Place.  If you look below the photo in the left bar on the Places Page you will see a text link that asks “Is this your business?”.  Click on the link and claim your business.  From what I have seen verifying the business doesn’t prevent the ability of someone else editing your info and URL.
  3. Merge the Places Page with Your Company, Brand, Product, etc. page.  This appears to be a good idea that has disappeared for the time being.   Facebook may be changing the process and planning on reinstating the process once completed.  Last info I saw (on 8/2/11) was that Facebook was not responding to questions sent on this topic.  Google+ anyone?
  4. Create a Company, Brand, Product page, then claim your Places page and delete it.  If you can’t merge the Places page then kill it.

I’d like to think that Facebook would see this post and correct the issue.  But in the real world Facebook likely knows about the issue, has decided it doesn’t really care or that it isn’t a big enough issue, and has no plans to address it.  Social networks move at their own speed, based on their own priorities, and I’ve yet to see one that really cares what their users think.  They may exist to help the rest of us be social, but they themselves really are more interested in figuring out how to make money rather than having a conversation with you or me.

Social Media Sonar provides the following four resources for FREE… 1.  The Blog, 2. The Online Marketing/Social Media Blueprint, 3.  Conversion Rate Optimization Guide, 4.  Resource Center.  If these help you implement your own online marketing program, great. We love helping people. If you decide you need some help, great. We love new clients.  Contact Us if we can help you.

Two Cool Website Tools

I learned web design the old fashioned way by diving in with my eyes closed and never really knowing where I, or the site, would wind up.  My first site in 1998 was built with NetObjects Fusion, a wysiwyg editor.  Over the years I went from version 3 to version 11, avoiding learning to write code, since most of the sites I was designing were for my own businesses.  Eventually  I  ditched NOF and began to focus on using WordPress and templates, learning as much code as I needed to tweak things.

I still do not like writing CSS from scratch and choosing color schemes gives me a headache.  But two tools that I’ve discovered have made things much simpler, and if you are someone who likes to DIY then you should love them as well.  Here they are:

1.  LeanDesigns claims to be the first visual web design tool built specifically for web developer.  Not sure about that but I would describe them as a web creation tool that allows you to create a site using drag and drop functionality and then instantly export the html and css that makes up your design.  Its fast and simple to create a layout, making it also a perfect tool to create wire frames.  Here’s a graphic of a design I created in about 15 minutes.

One of the features I like is that you can apply a 960 grid guide behind your design making it easy to create a visually appealing design.  Then once you’ve completed your design you can export the html and css code.

The design to the left is actually a layout for a page in a WordPress Template site that I’m working on.  The header and footer are supplied by the template and I use my design and the code to customize the body section.

LeanDesigns has a How It Works page that walks you through the creation process with a set of screenshots.

They offer a free trial version that allows you to create and save one design.  The Pro version allows you to create and save unlimited designs for only $9 a month.

My Verdict:  A low cost tool that can be an advantage in your tool set.

2.  Color Scheme Designer allows you to create custom palettes for websites and more.  The interface is simple and allows you to quickly create a color scheme that works together.

I met with a client earlier today to discuss redesigning their website and color scheme (the current scheme was red and royal blue).  The first step was to redesign their logo with the new colors, the only caveat being that one of the colors had to be red.  I took the red color and put it into the tool and it generated the following color palette.

There are six different choice for choosing color combinations:

1.  Mono
2.  Complement
3.  Triad
4.  Tetrad
5.  Analogic
6.  Accented Analogic

You can adjust the saturation/brightness, contrast, and see a full color list with color swatches and hexagon codes.  They even have a tool to see a light or dark page example allowing you to see how the colors might interact on an actual page.

Using the palette generated I was able to quickly put together a logo in the new colors to show my client.  Here is the logo design (company name changed because the client is not ready to make the actual logo public):

Without the color scheme designer I’m not sure I would have chosen to mix red, blue, and green together.

My Verdict: An absolute must have if you do anything that requires color selection.

There are thousands of tools out there and they may be some that are better, but so far these two do exactly what I want them to do.  They are perfect tools to add to your DIY tool kit.

Social Media Sonar provides the following four resources for FREE… 1.  The Blog, 2. The Online Marketing/Social Media Blueprint, 3.  Conversion Rate Optimization Guide, 4.  Resource Center.  If these help you implement your own online marketing program, great. We love helping people. If you decide you need some help, great. We love new clients.  Contact Us if we can help you.

YouTube Infographic

Last week I finally took the leap and created my first official infographic, my Twitter Infographic.  Today I’m back with number two, a You Tube version.

As I’ve created my first two I’ve also started paying more attention to other ones that I find.  I stumbled on to a couple of blogs related to the subject that, if like me you’re into it, you should enjoy:  the first is Cool Infographics by Randy Krum which has a wide assortment of graphics. OMGeureka has infographics that tend to relate to online topics.  And finally Submit Infographics which not only has a collection of work but lets you submit your creations as well.

Here’s my second foray that was inspired after reading Jeff Bullas’s 50 Awesome YouTube Facts and Figures.  I didn’t use all of the facts Jeff wrote about, but enough to want to give credit to him for his post.

 

If you like the YouTube Infographic please consider retweeting it and sharing with others.

Social Media Sonar provides the following four resources for FREE… 1.  The Blog, 2. The Online Marketing/Social Media Blueprint, 3.  Conversion Rate Optimization Guide, 4.  Resource Center.  If these help you implement your own online marketing program, great. We love helping people. If you decide you need some help, great. We love new clients.  Contact Us if we can help you.

When to Tweet?

Every day it seems like there is a new social media related application released.  While I tend to try out a number of the applications that I encounter, the reality is that few of them do enough or specifically what it is that I am looking for.

I look for apps that:

  1. Simplify Workflows
  2. Save Time
  3. Expand Functionality
  4. Better Clarify Information or Data

Some of the tools I encounter are one trick ponies, others have more than one of these features.  Either way the the apps I choose to use have to make sense from a business perspective.

A recent tool that I discovered is When to Tweet, created by Niklas Agevik and Stefan Alund.  Whentotweet analyzes when your followers are active and gives you a personalized recommendation on what the best time of day for you to tweet is. Its a simple but powerful concept …Your tweets are most likely to be seen and responded to when your followers are most active.

It only addresses one of the four criteria listed above but better understanding when to tweet can help drive more traffic, engagement, conversions, etc.

I ran a report on @seanenelson, my Twitter account, and it showed the following graph:

 

The times listed are in GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) so you will need to adjust the data to your time zone.  You can do so at http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com.  Here in Georgia I subtract 4 hours while in Daylight Savings Time and when we switch to Standard Time in October I would subtract 5 hours.

Looking at the chart right now I see that the best time for me to tweet is around 12:30 PM (adjusted from GMT to EST), but I also see that I have a window from 10 AM to 2:30 PM.

The current Free tool  analyzes your first 500 followers and 200 tweets of each follower to determine the best times for you to tweet.

A Pro version, not yet available, is expected to analyze up to 1,000 tweets from up to 1 million followers.  The current projected cost for a Pro report is set at $20.  Not a bad one time or even annual cost to determine when you should be tweeting.  My only request is that the Pro report return times based on the time zone the recipient lives.

You can sign up at the site to receive an email when the Pro Version is available.

My Verdict:   A interesting tool worth checking out.

Social Media Sonar provides the following four resources for FREE… 1.  The Blog, 2. The Online Marketing/Social Media Blueprint, 3.  Conversion Rate Optimization Guide, 4.  Resource Center.  If these help you implement your own online marketing program, great. We love helping people. If you decide you need some help, great. We love new clients.  Contact Us if we can help you.

Putting the Social Web to Work

Going into this weeks Super Bowl both Green Bay and Pittsburgh will have game plans. Those plans will likely evolve throughout the game but before the first snap there was a plan.

Most successful businesses have an overall business plan that likely includes an individual marketing plan. It makes sense, right. So why, when I talk to people about social media, do I find many that have no social media plan?

You need to have a social media strategy in place with goals and objectives. This plan needs to be incorporated into a marketing plan, which is then part of your overall business plan. Without these, how do you know what actions you should be taking?

Before we go any further lets make sure that we understand the landscape. Continue reading Putting the Social Web to Work

Social Media Allows David to Out-Market Goliath

Ten years ago LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook did not exist. Twenty years ago hardly anyone had a personal computer. Thirty years ago Cable Television was just starting to come into it’s own. Forty years ago you had 5 channels or less on TV dependent upon how well the tin foil on the rabbit ears worked. What you know today will change tomorrow.

Most of our client’s are small to mid-size companies that cannot match up against their larger competitors in terms of money, labor, and resources. To out-market the competition they have to out-smart them.

In a recent article Malcome Gladwell discusses how David’s can improve their chance of beating Goliaths. Normally David is successful less than 30%. But, when David understands that he cannot compete on Goliath’s terms (think normal industry practices) and chooses an unconventional strategy, the success percentage more than doubles.

Recently someone asked what it is that Social Media Sonar does. Our answer was that we help David out market Goliath using traditional advertising, marketing, and social media.

We still believe that traditional means of marketing including direct mail, radio and television ads, and even newspaper ads have their place.    Social media, though, allows us to cost effectively build a community of people, communicate one to one or en masse, engage in conversations, generate leads, and drive revenue.

It is understanding how it all works together in a comprehensive strategy that makes it work. You can choose to use traditional advertising and marketing, social media, or both.

LinkedIn Labs Tests Out New Tools

This is likely my last post of the year and being that Christmas is only hours away I’m going to share a little LinkedIn gift with you. Many people are not aware that LinkedIn has a site where they feature internal projects. These not-ready for prime time tools may or may not be relevant but they are interesting.

Once a month LinkedIn celebrates “In Day” where LinkedIn employees are encouraged to research, experiment, and create concepts outside of there normal routine. Adam Nash explained the concept in a post on the LinkedIn blog, “This concept began with an impromptu hackday held over the 2007 holiday break and has now grown to a company-wide event (including an American Idol style panel of judges). Teams are given just five minutes to demo their hack in front of the entire company, and judges get just two minutes to ask questions.”

These are a few of the tools Continue reading LinkedIn Labs Tests Out New Tools

Post Blog to Multiple LinkedIn Groups at the Same Time

One of the things I like about social media is that as a developing medium it sometimes takes a little creativity to accomplish what you might want. Recently we had a client that engaged us to help drive traffic to their internal jobs postings. One of the first places I thought of posting these opportunities was in the jobs board in LinkedIn groups.

We did a search on industry groups and selected twenty to join. These twenty groups have over 300,000 members. The only thing left to do was to post each job opportunity in each group.

We started with 20 jobs to post and doing simple math meant that posting 20 jobs in 20 groups would require 400 posts to groups to complete . Thats a lot of time that really was not in the budget. Surely there had to be an easier way. Continue reading Post Blog to Multiple LinkedIn Groups at the Same Time

Can You Track Social Media ROI?

tracking social media roi“Can you track social media ROI?” is a simple yes or no question. Unfortunately the answer isn’t so Black and White. And, it seems the more people think about it the more mis-construed things become.

One problem with tracking social media ROI is that people often start with a flawed definition. If the words engagement, traffic, bounce rate, retweets, comments, Diggs, Stumble’s, etc are included in your definition you are already off track.

I’m not saying that you should not track or measure these items. Some of these measurements may be defined as key performance indicators and indicate whether or not you are on the right path. They just don’t belong in the ROI equation. Continue reading Can You Track Social Media ROI?

What’s the Point of Social Media?

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself that question? How did you answer it? What if we ask someone else? Are they likely to give the same answer or a different one?

We’re also likely to give a different answer than people at the top social sites would give. So lets look at the point of several sites.

  • LinkedIn: To help professionals network and deepen the relationships they already have or are just developing.
  • Facebook: It’s changed in scope from its origins but Facebook allows us to engage with our friends and families on a more personal level sharing experiences, video, photo’s, etc.
  • Twitter: Twitter lets us stream micro thoughts to others and see what others are thinking or up to.
  • You Tube: Allows you to post to share experiences, entertainment, outrage, etc with others. Continue reading What’s the Point of Social Media?